Take action where it counts

The annual Kids Count Data Book, released this month, measures the well-being of children nationwide and ranks states in areas of health, education, economic well-being, and family and community structures.

Alabama dropped from 42 to 44 this year.

Although an improvement over 2010, 25 percent of children in Alabama continue to live in poverty and 31 percent of the state’s children live with parents who lack secure employment, meaning the employed parent has a high chance of losing his or her job.

The Kids Count report is put out by the Annie E. Casey Foundation with state-level partners such as Voices for Alabama’s Children. The annual report ranks states based on 16 indicators.

Education is one of the indicators. The report looks at the number of 3- and 4-year-old children not in school, fourth-grade students not proficient in reading, eighth-graders not proficient in math, and high school students not graduating on time.

Statewide, 69 percent of fourth graders were not reading at grade level; 79 percent of eighth graders were not proficient in math; and 11 percent of students were not graduating on time.

Voices for Alabama Children Communications Manager Angela Thomas said the group will release a more detailed report in August or September that spells out how counties are doing compared to statewide and national data.

This is an important issue, especially looking to the future, and it demands our attention.

This is an issue that demands the attention of area educators. When the detailed report comes out, we need to look at the problem areas for the Shoals and find ways to address them.

Open again

Pope’s Tavern has reopened after six months of closure for reinterpretation and repairs.

The museum underwent about $7,000 of work on the interior for the new exhibits that focus on the role of Pope’s Tavern as a hospital, according to Arts and Museums Superintendent Libby Jordan.

The building also underwent some structural repairs, she said in an article last week.

Curator Brian Murphy said the changes will enable visitors to go through the museum without the aid of a guide.

“It does have a really good sort of social history of why this happened, what Florence’s role in the (Civil) war was, and then after the war as well,” Curator Brian Murphy said, adding there was more information “on some of the people who were here and their parts in this conflict and really what it means for people living here before, during and after the war.”

We hope people stop by and visit to see for themselves how beneficial the changes are to this important local museum.

Fixing shelters

Thumbs up to the company that installed three storm shelters in Colbert County for agreeing to repaint the structures that are showing significant rusting.

Despite the fact that the shelters are out of warranty, the company has agreed to repaint the 5-year-old shelters at no cost.

County officials say the damage is cosmetic only, and does not impact the integrity of the shelters.

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